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Recognition for Green Flag Award park staff

At the annual online Best of the Best Green Flag Award Ceremony on 7 November James Armour from South Lanarkshire Council was named as a joint winner of Employee of the Year and South Lanarkshire’s Strathaven Park was once again named in the top 10 People’s Choice awards.

It is the ninth year in a row that the people who value the park have voted for Strathaven Park to be recognised – and with more than 21,000 members of the public casting their vote for 2,000+ Green Flag Award winning parks and open spaces across the UK it is a true reflection of the community’s connection to Strathaven Park that they were placed in the top ten once again.

James, an employee with South Lanarkshire Council, was crowned alongside Dave Gordon – Wallsend Park, North Tyneside, for his commitment to ensuring the park is one of the public’s favourites.

James is the friendly, helpful, approachable face of the park. He is the only full-time employee in the park and is therefore the "go to" person for all park users, including the "friends" group, boating club, model railway group, tennis club members, local groups, dog walkers and many school and nursery groups that visit.  His role includes summer maintenance tasks, grass cutting, flower displays, upkeep of path network, shrub and hedge pruning to winter grounds tasks, general pruning, splitting and replanting herbaceous beds. 

Additionally, James also maintains the orchard and helps various groups with the food growing raised beds, offering advice and his time.  James also maintains the bowling green in the park, and lines the football pitches for every game. Alongside this, James cuts the putting green and tends the sensory garden and boating pond.

John Crawford, Amenity Services Officer at South Lanarkshire Council, “The impact James has made in the park is clear to see. He uses his horticultural knowledge to tend to the herbaceous borders, splitting them in winter to give plants to fill gaps, gaining enough planting material to create new pockets or enhance existing areas.

“The bowling green/ putting green/ football pitches have all improved since James arrived bringing his greenkeeper knowledge with him.   He has also planted wildflower meadows to encourage pollinators and other wildlife, while reducing the carbon footprint of the mowers.

“Although he is undoubtedly busy James is never too busy to acknowledge any park visitor, whether it is with advice or simply a friendly smile. All of this James does with a great level of professionalism, integrity, and pride, and he must be credited as the one defining factor in Strathaven Park securing Green Flag Award status over the years, and achieving the top ten in People’s Choice, usually the only Scottish park, for so many years.”

We present Green Flag Awards, under license from Keep Britain Tidy.  The award scheme supports park managers and communities to manage and improve green and open spaces and the Green Flag was presented to almost 90 Scottish parks and green spaces that demonstrate excellent management and environmental standards this year.

Jamie Ormiston, Senior Awards Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “It is wonderful to see the staff and volunteers of some of Scotland’s parks get the national recognition they deserve.

“There are many inspiring projects going on across the country to improve access to Scotland’s green spaces and adapt to the climate, nature and litter emergencies and it’s a privilege to be able to celebrate just some of these through the Green Flag Award Best of the Best and People’s Choice.

“We encourage anyone working or volunteering in a green space to consider the Green Flag Award as not only a way to highlight excellent standards but also to gain advice and support from a network of inspiring peers through the judging process.”

Visit Green Flag Award | Keep Scotland Beautiful for more information and to find out more about the 2024 application process for park managers and communities.

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08 November 2023

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